Both North Finchley Congregational Church and North Finchley Baptist Church can trace their roots back to what was known as the Cottagers' Chapel.
In the middle of the nineteenth century when both churches were formed, Finchley was made up of three separate villages - East End, Church End and North End. North End was the smallest of the three and was situated on what was then Finchley Common. The total population of Finchley was less than 5,000, of whom only about a thousand lived at North End.
The Cottagers’ Chapel
The Cottagers’ Chapel and Thomas Newman
In the 1830s, a tea merchant called Thomas Newman moved to North End, (now called North Finchley). His house was called Orchard Lodge and was situated where the Arts Depot is now. As there was no church for the people of North End, he started one for them in the Lodge Lane area. Then in 1837, as that was no longer big enough, he converted an old coaching stable next to his house into a place of worship which became known as the Cottagers’ Chapel. The chapel was…
“A bare, oblong room, with an arch one end where the pulpit was placed. Over the arch was a clock; a central gas chandelier and one bracket supplied artificial illumination; four pillars sustained the ceiling and the seating consisted of plain wooden benches and chairs”
Mr Newman conducted Sunday services at the Cottagers’ Chapel from 1837 until 1866 when he was 78, three times each Sunday. On a Sunday in 1851 the census showed that 78 people worshipped there in the morning, 87 in the afternoon and 77 in the evening.
It was a group of those worshipping in the Cottagers' Chapel who formed the Finchley Common Congregational Church in 1864.
In 1868 the North Finchley Baptist Church was formed. By this time Thomas Newman had died and the Cottagers Chapel fell vacant. The building became the first place of worship for the newly formed Baptist Church until its own building was erected in 1879.